Thursday, October 29, 2009
October 29, 2009. Somebody really got this right. These red geraniums in giant dusty red pots are striking. And they are just sitting there as you come across a peeling pedestrian bridge over the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery tunnel, in a nondescript intersection of roadways at the tip of the island. But how pretty they are, and how dramatic. The sunlight was so warm on them after a few days of rain and gray skies.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
October 27, 2009. Rescued, as it were, and left on a sill covered with raindrops, awaiting the return of its owner, someone who thought “oh, this looks pretty in my ear”. Now it is gone, lost, maybe forgotten, maybe regretfully so. Why didn’t I go back to get it? Where did I lose it? But then it is left here, by someone who thought it was too pretty to be trodden underfoot. It’s red and golden threads brighten an overcast day and a gray window.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
October 25, 2009. October 25, 2009. I saw a lot of art today because I went to BWAC, the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. I usually try to go twice during the course of each show, and I am always happy I did, although transportation problems almost got the best of me. But hey, I’m a New Yorker, and a little thing like the subway isn’t running to where you want to go, just can’t stop you, especially when there is art at the end of the line. There are so many people showing their work, and each of them that I meet is so proud to be there, and they really want you to see their work, and they are really eager to talk about it. I didn’t take a picture, but if you follow the link to Philip’s blog spot, The Artpoint, you’ll see what I’m talking about. I have my favorites, of course, and some times I have new favorites, but that just means that I have connected to someone's work that I didn't connect to last time. It's always a delight.
October 24, 2009. When I first noticed this building, after years of walking by as I left Union Square, it was because the columns on either side of the door had been decorated with the standing figures at the top and bottom, along with the designs on the three verticals. It was striking in both its simplicity and its complexity. It was before the tags had been sprayed over some of the design, and before the crawling orange sprawls, like an awakening fungus on a tree, had grown into its space. There is something organic and natural about the orange, almost inevitable, evolutionary if left to its own devices. But I also lament the loss of the beauty of the original, still clearly visible on the upper left.
Friday, October 23, 2009
October 23, 2009. My subway Rothko. Over a black background is painted this blue rectangle – admittedly washed out, but blue nonetheless. Every day I walk down the stairs to the downtown C and I wonder who painted this, and why no one has painted over it in a single bureaucratic color. The black is shiny like hot black tar on a Minnesota roadway in July, and it makes me smile as I make my way to work.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
October 21, 2009. I have been trying to get this picture by the Library for weeks now, but it is too dark after I exit my acupuncture treatment. These tracks are the urban footprints of the dinosaurs of our time. What were the two trails paralleling each other? Were they heading to a watering hole, or on their way to shelter? What is the track that crosses both, and why does it head off in another direction? In the future will someone try to determine what the characters are and what they mean to tell us?
Monday, October 19, 2009
October 19, 2009. There’s so much going on in this little space – just a tiny sticker on a lamppost. The curves of the lines encircling the smaller white field remind me of the very small and detailed work of a woman named Margie Rubin. It is like a little surprised white fish with red eyes and a red nose. As it combines with the larger red field, it looks like a deranged bicycle messenger on the rush through City streets.
October 17, 2009. Here’s a bar & restaurant that wanted graffiti art to draw attention to its place of business. The flowers are so soft and round, even if they are neon, against the bold tag line. It’s hard to be on the side streets in Manhattan, so you need to use every tool at your disposal to drive or pull business to you. In this case it’s a small Indian restaurant.
Friday, October 16, 2009
October 14, 2009. What cleverness exists in the minds of humans. This sad figure looks like it is having a hard time climbing the stairs, and to make matters worse it is accompanied by a yapping dog. Is this a nod to the dog whisperer brand, is it the maker’s personal experience, or is it just a dog behaving badly? In the far future, when this plaque is discovered in some buried dump, people will argue over the pictograph of the dog and try to establish the exact breed, what it looked like, how it behaved, if it was an early warning system. We all know what it is though, even with its cartoon lines.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
October 13, 2009. What has happened to the person in the chair? This tentacle reaching up from the subway floor, angling to the opening in the border – maybe to the next frame – what is it reaching for? Was there a victim of this unseen monster? Is this what the person who stripped the piece out of the poster intended? Or is it just the latest round of movies that I’ve watched.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
October 11, 2009. I dream of antelope when I look at this. Not the leaping, bouncing antelope of National Geographic, but the staring, protective, silent antelope of my own vision. They watch, they wait, and they stand guard. I imagine they are protective of their own, against the elements and against the dangers that lurk in the high grasses. These are not the delicate creatures that spring about on pogo stick legs, but the great horned antelope like oryx, kudu and sable that dare you to challenge them. What wizardry of design brought about this creation?
Saturday, October 10, 2009
October 10, 2009. I’ve liked images of birds in a row ever since I heard Willie Nelson sing Cohen’s Bird on a Wire. And twice I’ve seen paintings of birds on a wire, that I should have bought, but didn’t. Curious that these turkey vultures were sitting on the roof of a church, now a restaurant in New Hope, next to the Addams Family house, also a restaurant. In flight, they had a wonderful circular, forward moving pattern over the Delaware River. And then some of them came to rest here, watching and waiting, but I don’t know what for.
October 8, 2009. Church & West Broadway. As much as I want to ignore work that defaces public signs and makes it even more difficult for people to determine where they can legally park, I couldn’t help but take notice of the face. Round and so heavily shadowed, so serious, but lit by color, and decorated by a vibrant blue tattoo. Is he being inspired by some illumination from above, is that what the blue lines are in the upper left corner? Was the artist faced with the same problem as ancient artists – how to depict divine inspiration? Is he contemplating why there is a sign for a farmers market, but no market and no farmers? Maybe he is conceiving how to create local sustainability.
October 7, 2009. Bryant Park. Carousels remind me of the fantasy of childhood day dreams, and even adult walking dreams. When you were mounted on that mighty stead, flying swiftly anywhere, even if it only went in a circle, you could construct a world where you could win, where you could enforce ‘right’, at least as far as you understood it. On the back of a horse, you couldn’t help but be victorious against the villainy of the tyrants. And then there they were, on the backs of horses. What tricks were played on those poor animals to put them on the wrong side?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
October 6, 2009. What a burden these weary caryatid bear here in the East Village. Their glory has faded, not only from the ravages of time, but from the neglect of man. They are now caged, hemmed in securely by railings, their curves in stark contrast to the straight lines of the door and structure, their griminess mirrored in the graffiti on the window. Did they offer shelter and promise when they first graced this building? I can imagine that they were welcome markers to children making their way back home. I would always know which door was mine.
Monday, October 5, 2009
October 4, 2009. Timber, logs, slashed together, pinned into place, rolling down the uneven shape of the supporting trunk, cutting the sun’s intense rays, but not blocking it from reaching to your face. They reach out to their neighbor birches, standing straight, giving shelter of another sort.
October 3, 2009. Somewhere north, near Roscoe, lives a potter, Carolyn Duke, who we inevitably visit when TJ & I see our friends Jeff & Jim. I love looking at the ideas she explores in clay – the colors, the imprints of flowers, weeds and branches from her yard, and the firing techniques of her pinch pots. This red, against the darkened pottery, feels like an autumn day to me, the color of leaves about to fall, against an ominous sky about to rain, but with the sun not quite ready to quit the scene. It has an earthiness like mud and blood mixed together after you’ve fallen and scraped your knee, which I used to do often enough.
And then there is this undulating bowl with these delicate imprints of stems and dense flowers. The beautiful green that rings the midsection, shooting upward to the lip, contrasting to the crackled bottom, is another color that I love to look at in her work. Her pottery exudes a strong pull on me to want to touch it and roll it around in my hands. It overrides my concern about dropping it.
Friday, October 2, 2009
October 2, 2009. Wall Street is guarded over by the Sentinels of the Canyon. High above the street, these two shrouded and hooded figures watch over the activities of all below and around them. What secrets did the sculptor lock into them that they point to the east, but lower their heads to the rising sun? What do they shield behind their robes, a strength of arms or wisdom?